Tag Archives: violence

Revolutionary regrets, I’ve had a few…

my-arms-are-tired-protester1Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the oppressed of the world could actually succeed in overthrowing the oppressors? Everywhere there is seething, but the outcomes are minimal, except for those killed, beaten, and imprisoned in the protest. Tyrants become stronger. It breaks my heart.
I remember travelling to Havana last Christmas, eager to see the Revolution’s results, knowing, of course, that it is hard to succeed when your nearest trading partner insists upon standing on your neck – but Cuba broke my heart. Such wonderful people, such beautiful art and music and talent and strengths and yet, so many slowly starving. Even the museum of the revolution was dusty, uncared-for, grim. It made the part of me that longs for some reprieve from the outrageous me-first greed and capitalism sad and sorry.
Are we destined to lose everything we have to the powers of the shareholders? Will we be discount-stored into non-existence? And will our world leaders continue to usurp our freedoms in the Orwellian name of “security”, while we dither about and do nothing?
It horrifies me, more than the destruction of the planet, even, for without power, we as citizens of the earth can do nothing to stop that destruction.
But we’re all too comfy, or too busy, or too hesitant to speak out.vote-the-bumsout
Or we do speak out, risk our lives, and make no progress against the juggernauts who shoot us, gas us, imprison us. And eventually, we have to get back to work. At the jobs they graciously allow us to keep as long as we keep our mouths shut.
My son has been reporting from Istanbul for the past several days, and now, as things quiet down, he wonders if anything was accomplished. Like the Occupy protests – masses of people rise up, make a lot of noise, get coverage for a few minutes of our magpie-news coverage, and then once the real messages come out, the media turns to the next shiny thing and the pressure goes off the leaders.
I used to feel I didn’t believe in armed insurrection, that peaceful protest was the right way, that working within organizations was the best way to change things.
Then I tried to change organizations from within, and every time I was broken against them. I’d get a change to happen, however minuscule, one that benefitted people, but as soon as I left they slipped back into the old ways, ways they didn’t even like but which they were used to.
So how do we change an outrageous paradigm?
Maybe it’s time to link Brazil and Turkey and Occupiers and the French (who are very very good at driving the dialogue) and those rabid footballers in various places, and pull together?
I don’t know.
I’m tired.
And here we have an admitted fraudster telling everyone he will run for office again, and people saying yeah, sure, I’d vote for him.
I give up, disgusted, and pull my covers over my head.
At least, for a moment.
I need to regroup. I’ll be back.Gandhi-368x378


USA? Stay Away.

abd7e331-dd87-4e27-83cc-59eb25ac61f5Why are we talking about the USA? Because it’s one of the countries on the list of where you might be from, and it’s on my mind right now. My horrified mind.

Some man went into his kid’s elementary school today and shot up the class and a whole bunch of other people. We don’t know yet whether he shot his daughter, whether this was some horrible custody fight, why the man, now dead, took it into his head to kill everyone today.

Of course it will be argued that he was mentally ill. You’d have to be mentally ill to shoot kids and teachers and such. But maybe he wasn’t as ill as all that. Big shootings are a common event down south. They seem to happen about once a month, at least. More in good weather. And they are speeding up, like in murder mysteries when the psychopath starts losing control and changes his pattern to kill more often.

Usually that’s when the detective catches the perp. Who is going to catch a country’s perpetrator?

It’s utterly horrible. Most Americans are wonderful people, most of the time the country is peaceful, bucolic even, given that most of the violent have been killed in needless international wars (oops, cynicism there). I grew up in the US, and my family members still live there. But I really don’t think I’ll ever go visiting anymore. I can’t support such a place.
You might argue that it’s individual people committing the crimes, but I disagree. A political and economic system based on creating inequality and competition and ever-increasing pressure to have more, take more, own more creates these monsters. It always has.

Look at other places. The countries with less income inequality, with a better social safety net, with fairer laws, with GUN control – well, there’s less violence. Unless you are in the middle of a war zone, there’s not much that matches the violence in an average US city.

The US prison population is over 2 million, more than those incarcerated in CHINA. 1 in 32 Americans are under correctional supervision. Everyone knows about the imbalance in racial background in the prisons, but with this many people incarcerated, a lot of people of every colour, sex and background are doing time.



And then there are the guns. Everyone wants one. Florida crowed only last week about having issued their 1 millionth concealed gun permit. People are getting their legislatures to pass laws to allow people to bring guns to work, to coffee shops, to wherever.

Every time there’s a big shooting, the NRA tells people that the only thing that will keep them safe is more handgun ownership. They institute things like laws that allow you to shoot anyone you think may be trespassing on your land. Note: don’t go to a stranger’s door in the US and ask for directions.I am certain there will be some idiot who suggests that this shooting in Connecticut wouldn’t have happened if the teachers were armed. The NRA have a convenient “Women on target” program to teach women how to shoot pistols – perhaps this will become part of teacher training?images-22

I am in astonished grief about all the poor children and teachers and family members of this man who were killed today. I even spare a bit of grief for the man. But grief is not enough. This has to be stopped. It’s insanity on a country-wide scale.

I think the only solution is to start an embargo around the USA – no one buy anything from there or travel there until they pass some decent gun-control laws. And here in Canada, make sure our safety net is secure (fix it), and throw our Conservative, wish I had a gun too, government back into the oil sands.

It’s important. We’re up here in Canada, just waiting for the wave of hatred and killing to surge over our border. Our income inequality is worse than in the US. The only thing saving us are our gun laws and our inhospitable weather.

Incidentally, I googled “no guns” images, and these were on the front page. Including this one. I could cry, all day. How many more must die?NoGunsNoMoney-Variety

Vengeance revisited

Suppose you met someone, and they hurt you, and they vanished and you breathed a sigh of relief. And then they turned up again. Cheerily. Unaware of the damage you sustained in their presence. Wanting to damage again.

What would you do?

Would you seek vengeance?

Would you ignore the opportunity to create personal ruin?

Would you go to the gym and punch something til your hands bled to release the anger?

Would you let it go and avoid the confrontation?

It’s at times like this that I truly wish life was really like the TV show “Ally McBeal”. On this program, when the characters were angry, flames would shoot out of their mouths or a great wind would arise and blow the target of their anger all about.

Me, I’d like to wield thunderbolts. Not always, and I’d probably feel guilty afterwards, but my golly it would be great to have an occasional thunderbolt in my back pocket for some people.

Of course, the thought occurs to me that if I had thunderbolts, probably a few other people might have them, too, and I might well become a thunderbolt recipient. So it’s probably just as well we all remain thunderbolt-less.

So what to do with anger, rage, fear, animosity? I don’t have these emotions often. Over the years, I have muted my responsiveness to provocation – most things don’t feel worth fighting over.

But recently I was badly hurt by someone, and thought he was gone, and now he’s back, breathing wolflike along the edges of my existence. I can ignore him and hope he goes away.

But the temptation to wreak retribution is large. I can feel it tingling along my spine, sending electric charges into my arms, readying me for combat.

Forgiveness is wiser, but the circle is incomplete without apology. So instead I visualize ridiculous scenes of physical attack on this person (who is much bigger than I) followed by demanding an apology.

It’s unwise to try without those thunderbolts. (Interestingly, when I went looking for images of women wielding lightning bolts for this blog, there were hardly any to be found. Why IS that, I wonder?)

So, my fiction-writing self steps in, and says to me, in a soothing voice – never mind, darling, we’ll just use him in a story. We’ll inflict virtual harm. It’ll be almost as good. And you can hurt him again and again until you have wounded him out of your system.

Smiling, I pick up my pen, all better now.

Vengeance is mine?

ImageSeems to me someone said that once, and it wasn’t about all of us just wandering about blowing each other’s heads off.

But things are getting out of hand.

I was working out in the gym the other day, happily listening to some be-boppy music and watching the TVs in front of me, rather idly, through the sweat running into my eyes. I dunno, but I think I saw on CMT (Country Music Television) a set of songs involving women’s vengeance on men. It was all helpfully subtitled so I could read the words, and the visuals swam by rather horrifically. 

The first one was about a woman whose man beat her up, so she planned to stand behind the door, light a cigarette, and shoot him through the head with her gun. Sweet.

The next one showed a woman carrying a draining gas tank through the town to where she saw her guy in bed with another woman. She lit the gas trail and it whipped through the town, ending up by burning down his house. Maybe he was in it. I don’t know.

Doesn’t this seem a bit extreme? Why not just leave? Heck, if you are strong enough to go to all that prep, you surely have the moxie to move on and find someone worthy of your attention, right?

Of course, it seems more shocking since it’s a woman doing all this – we’re so accustomed to the male “You done me wrong so I’m going to kill you” meme we barely blink an eye. I always have hopes that women will turn out to be better at things than men. After all, we have the capacity. We just let men think they’re in charge a lot of the time because they can’t cope with the alternative. We could be in charge, but we don’t want the hassle, right?

Turns out we often are better. At vengeance. We women step up to the plate and are nastier than the men we deride. The other day in church, a woman who feels above us all called out our minister in public for some perceived slight. She explained that she had a much closer contact with God than the rest of us, so she needed to move on. Fine. Move on. But spreading discord in your wake? Needless and hurtful. 

Other women compete with friends, put them down, run back end sorties to scoop the sand from under them and rejoice in their fall. It’s horrible. Like the men we accuse, we spend out energies getting even, instead of starting over and living positively. At least men just punch and move on. Most of the time. Not that that is okay, either.

In any case, the whole vengeance thing is flawed. We often don’t have all the information, we are muddled by our own thoughts and desires and fears and inadequacies. Judges have a tough time assigning blame, and they have a rule book and are not personally involved. We’re hot under the collar and hurt and filled with incorrect information and phlegm, and direct energy negatively instead of positively. 

Like the women in the videos, maybe the problem isn’t so much external as internal.

As Despair.com says, maybe The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you.

Why not leave vengeance to those responsible for it, and instead move on, forgive, not forget, not repeat, learn, make a new ending?

I love the quote from Joyce Meyer: Harbouring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.

There’s enough violence in the world to go around: physical, structural, emotional, financial. Let’s not get into it or sponsor the idea that it’s empowering to attack others.

It isn’t.

The true power and strength is in not attacking others.


Little Rabbit Foo Foo

“running through the forest, scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head…”

I’m feeling disconcerted. Angry. A bit scared.

Apparently there is someone going through the downtown market here in Ottawa, sneaking up on women, and hitting them on the head.  With a hammer. In the middle of the day.


The purpose is unknown.  The women aren’t robbed or molested, just struck on the head. For some reason this bothers me most of all.  It seems like pointless violence (well, most violence is pointless, true), but I am puzzled and alarmed that this is happening, and also that it has been happening for some time and the police have just thought to notify us now.

I’m angry because their response is to tell women not to wear IPODs and to keep aware of who may be following them. Once again, it’s up to women to guard themselves from men, not up to men to stop beating up on women. It’s hard not to get frustrated with this.  Already we women are counselled not to walk alone in the dark, not to walk alone on bike paths, not to live alone in first floor apartments, not to drive long distances alone, not to speak to strangers, not to dress in a “tempting way” (defined differently depending on religious position), etc. etc., etc. as the King of Siam would say.

Now we are not to listen to music while walking in broad daylight in a busy market area? Come ON.  Where will it end? Perhaps that is the motivation for this man’s attacks – to start more fear amongst women. What will he do when just hitting the women once isn’t enough? Who else will think this is a fun idea, now that it’s hit the press? And why the hell are we paying increasing amounts for policing when this sort of thing is allowed to go on?

I’m tired of it.  In winter, I’m tired of feeling that frisson of danger whenever the sun sets and I’m out walking alone (or with my fierce protection poodle Chutney, who can growl up a storm). I’m fed up with a lifetime of restricted activity just because SOME men are knobs and some police are not doing their jobs. I’m tired of men just not understanding this restriction because they don’t ever ever think about it, where we women have to have it in the corners of our minds all the time.

I’m a pretty fearless gal, but I’ve got to admit the thought of some guy sneaking up on me and whacking me on the head with a hammer in the middle of the day is disconcerting. It makes me wish for a Good Fairy.


“Little Rabbit Foo Foo
Running through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head!
Down came the Good Fairy, and she said:
“Little Rabbit Foo Foo
I don’t wanna see you
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head!
I will give you three chances,
And if you don’t behave, I will turn you into a Goon!”  (hare today, goon tomorrow, har har har)